Broken Arrow Productions took Arthur Miller’s ‘The Crucible’ to The Hub Theatre at Southampton City College.
I am not particularly cultured, preferring EastEnders to anything highbrow, but even I was entirely taken in by this new production teams astounding show.
There is only one word to describe the show: gripping. From the chilling start, as you are guided through harrowing events as you watch a community tear itself apart, to the heart rending ending it is impossible to look away. The performers themselves are key within this, with Anita Thomson drawing you in with her portrayal of Abigail Williams, the girl you love to hate and Jeremy McCabe perfect at playing the weasel Reverend Parris. Alexander Curtis, Peter Ward and Alistair Hardie all show great maturity in their roles, outstanding in their portrayal of grief.
This is a quiet show, with the audience silent and hanging on every word. That isn’t to say that the performers are inaudible, with almost every word understandable even through their unfaltering accents. The quiet is complimented with the simple set design and both are made more effective by the intermittent riots of noise on stage. These outbursts were often accompanied by violence which didn’t look cheesey, a welcome change to the fake fighting in many student productions, instead they were hard hitting. For reacting to the violence, I think Sally White is especially to be commended, her reactions felt natural and that added to the sense of reality of the entire performance.
The direction of the show was brilliant, with the stage used to its fullness. The passion of Lucy Hughes (the director) to telling this story in an authentic way is obvious to see, with all the characters and plot twists taken seriously as we follow the destruction of everything they know.
The ending of the show is particularly touching, with Sarah Divall’s portrayal of heartbreak utterly convincing. I know I wasn’t the only one with wet eyes as the cast took their bow.